June 9, 2004
Oops�France did it againBy Olivier Guitta
Last October 16, Malaysia's then—Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a summit of Islamic leaders that the 'Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.' He added, '1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,' therefore Muslims must unite against the Jews for a 'final victory.' And who pleaded his case? No other that Jacques Chirac, the French President.
During the EU summit on Friday October 17, Chirac thought it would be clearly inappropriate for the EU to criticize Mahathir. According to the Associated Press, France opposed vehemently a condemnation of these anti—Semitic remarks. Then, on Saturday October 18, Mahathir said he would not apologize for his speech and that, 'what I had stated about the Jews is based on facts.' He went on arguing that he was not anti—Semitic because' Arabs are also Semitic people,' and there is no way he is against Arabs.
This justification does not change the nature of his comments, which are clearly 'anti—Jewish,' if that is the word he wants to use. Later that day, in an interview with the New Sunday Times, Mahathir declared that he would like to 'publicly thank Chirac' and he was glad that 'Chirac at least understands.'
Obviously, this kind of public praise finally convinced Chirac that he could not hide anymore, and that his friendship was now in the open. He realized that he was not being Politically Correct and sent a letter to Mahathir condemning his remarks, FOUR days after Mahathir's original speech ....
France and Malaysia have a history of strong ties.
According to a Malaysian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs press release in July, 2003, during the French President's official trip, Chirac and Mahathir were 'personal friends.' That was why Chirac went out of his way to visit Malaysia while Mahathir was still Prime Minister, rather than next year, as was originally scheduled.
In an interview with the Agence France Presse during Chirac's visit, Mahathir told them that Muslim nations should build up their military might in order to 'strike fear into the hearts of our enemies,' i.e. the West. After that interview, Chirac said he had known Mahathir for a very long time and described him as 'a great man' whose 'strong and outspoken views were always heartfelt.' In view of this, Chirac's compliments sound more like words coming from a radical Muslim despot than from a Western head of state.
At one point in the visit, Mahathir presented Chirac with the Malaysian Peace Award for his opposition to the US—led war on Iraq and 'his courage in standing up for the oppressed.' In his acceptance speech, Chirac stated that the world should not be ruled by the 'law of the jungle,' a clear attack to the US foreign policy. He added that he fully 'shared the Prime Minister's view on Iraq' and appreciated Mahathir's 'wisdom.'
What do Chirac and Mahathir have in common?
Chirac, like Mahathir, found a way to gain worldwide popularity in the Muslim world and amongst the Anti—American crowd by opposing the West. France has a long history of associating itself with rogue states and shady dictators. But a definite pattern has emerged since Chirac's arrival to power in 1995. He has been an almost unconditional supporter of anti—US Muslim regimes. Chirac never misses an opportunity to side with our enemies. He imagines himself as the leader of the Third World or rather the chief ally of the Muslim world. Some in Arab countries have already nicknamed him the 'Western Saladin,' after the victorious Muslim who defeated the Crusaders.
Young French Muslims are very radicalized, and hail Bin Laden as their hero. They yelled, 'Death to America and the Jews' during demonstrations in Paris, last year. The scenes in the streets of Paris mirrored those we have seen over and over in Teheran, Cairo and Ramallah, where the US and Israeli flags are burned. Furthermore, France has witnessed the biggest wave of anti—Semitism since the 1930's, since September 2001. Over 1,300 anti—Semitic acts have been accounted for by the Wiesenthal Center —— almost two a day.
The Chirac Administration has been extremely slow to recognize the problem, and until a several months ago, almost no arrests had been made, and the issue was not viewed as serious by the French government. Chirac keeps on repeating 'France is not anti—Semitic.' Does he not sound like Mahathir? Maybe Chirac uses the same definition as Mahathir, and that is why he cannot be classified as an anti—Semite. Nonetheless, if France is not anti—Semite]ic, how come Chirac added that French Jews should avoid wearing outside signs of their faith because it could provoke violence against them? Clearly, he does not consider this contradiction troublesome.
So, looking at his friendship with Mahathir, famous for his inflammatory speeches against the Jews and the Western world in general, and in light of his domestic policy, it looks like Chirac has chosen his side.
Chirac was a personal friend of Saddam Hussein for thirty years. Likewise the Baathist Assad Dynasty in Syria has received his favor: Chirac was the only Head of State of the non—Arab world to attend Hafez Assad's funeral in 2000. He is a friend of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat —— Arafat's wife Suha lives in a palace in Paris. So Mahathir is only one more addition to this long list. It does not seem like a coincidence that all these evil men, friends of Chirac, happen to be our archrival enemies.
Nonetheless, France is still considered our friend, and was spoken of as such by President Bush during last weekend's D—Day anniversary commemoration.
But with friends like this, who needs enemies?